The Happy Factory

We completed the renovation of our 1930’s house in several phases, the last – but perhaps the most anticipated – of which was the basement. I know that basement living space is an odd notion in some areas of the country, but in the Midwest the words “finished basement” mean a lot. It’s often treated like bonus space, where you hide the mess of bins with kids’ toys and baskets of laundry. And every dude in the Midwest knows the phrase “Man Cave.” Trevor talked about for years, with the key elements (in his opinion) being a TV seven times as big as actually needed and a comfortable place to sit. And by sit I mean nap. It became clear that there was a lot more space to fill in the room, so I got to work thinking of things that I would love in the room and knew would be used by the whole family. I wanted it fun and cozy but super functional. I wanted it rustic but not dated. I wanted it casual but well designed. I used the TV as my bargaining chip (“We can get that size if I can get these light fixtures”) and spent a fair amount of time convincing Trevor that what I had pictured in my brain made sense (“Trust me, we want the fireplace behind us, not under the TV”). Out of that dreaming, brainstorming, negotiating, and convincing, the “The Happy Factory” came to be.
DSC_3705_edited-1The room has a ton of functional seating. The comfy sectional is perfect for hunkering down for a movie; the seats at the table behind the couch are an ideal place to enjoy a bowl of chili while watching the game; the banquette in the corner is great for a game of Chutes and Ladders with the kiddos.

DSC_3690_edited-1I searched for a long time to find someone to make a reclaimed wood table, and was delighted when the resource I found was in Gaylord, Minnesota, a small town near where I grew up. We got a great deal on the table base since the owner’s son (who was 12 at the time) was the primary craftsman (which I found terribly sweet).
DSC_3706_edited-1I picked durable fabrics that had a lot of pattern. It’s important to me not to stress over grubby and greasy hands. And I’m not just referring to the kids. A LOT of pizza gets consumed in the Happy Factory.
DSC_3698_edited-1I saw this fireplace in a magazine years before we did the remodel, tucked it away in a folder and was so happy when it became a reality in the space.
DSC_3693_edited-1Good lighting is critical to any space, but particularly in a basement with little natural light. we were limited by not being able to do recessed lighting in most of the ceiling, so I wanted to make the most out of the pendant and sconce lighting. I loved this pendant because it cast light up as well as down. The floral pattern is a touch feminine, but the chocolate color and linen fabric help to balance.
DSC_3680_edited-1DSC_3712_edited-1I loved this tile because it reminded me of grass cloth. So much so that I decided to put it on one of the walls. Two of these sconces flank the TV. I love the shape and their soft light.
DSC_3688_edited-1For the functional side of the room, I wanted to have lots of storage for extra dishes, as well as a dishwasher drawer. Saves us from dropping dirty plates and utensils between the upstairs and the basement.
DSC_3674_edited-1I originally had picked this tile for the fireplace, but decided it was too busy for that large a space. For a kitchen regularly used for cooking this may not work as a backsplash, but in this space it adds great design and interest to this side of the room.
DSC_3721_edited-1And my favorite part of the room – the sliding distressed barn doors. One of which serves as a closet door to hide the media components, the other to mask a door that leads to the side yard.

Reality Check. The name Happy Factory originated elsewhere. The old Uptown in Minneapolis, where we would go years ago (and before kids) with friends for breakfast and bloodies. And stay for lunch. And the afternoon.

2 Comments on The Happy Factory

  1. Karen
    January 16, 2015 at 4:51 pm (5 years ago)

    I love this space! It is also ideal for couch car wash.

    • Kerry
      January 16, 2015 at 7:39 pm (5 years ago)

      It took me a long time to get those cushions looking presentable because of such car wash!


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